National Bank of Greece
|Traded as||Athex: ETE
|Headquarters||Aiolou 86, Athens, Greece|
|Key people||Alexandros Tourkolias (CEO), George Zanias (Chairman)|
|Products||Credit cards, consumer banking, corporate banking, finance and insurance, investment banking, mortgage loans, private banking, private equity, savings, Securities, asset management, wealth management|
|Revenue||€4.639 billion (2010)|
|Profit||€405.5 million (2010)|
|Total assets||€120.74 billion (2010)|
|Total equity||€10.91 billion (2010)|
|Employees||36,380 (average, 2010)|
The National Bank of Greece (NBG; Greek: Εθνική Τράπεζα της Ελλάδος) is a global banking and financial services company with its headquarters in Athens, Greece. From the operations in Greece come 50% of its pretax preprovision profits, complemented by 35% from Turkey and 15% from Southeastern Europe. The group offers financial products and services for corporate and institutional clients along with private and business clients. Services include banking services, brokerage, insurance, asset management, shipping finance, leasing and factoring markets.
The Swiss banker Jean-Gabriel Eynard and Georgios Stavros founded NBG in 1841 as a commercial bank. Stavros was also elected as the first director of the Bank until his death in 1869. From NBG's inception until the establishment of the Bank of Greece in 1928, NBG enjoyed the right to issue banknotes. When the Athens Stock Exchange was founded in 1880, NBG immediately listed on the exchange, a listing it has retained to the present.
NBG was founded in 1841 in Athens, making it the oldest bank in the country. It was not government-owned from its inception but had the right of note issue, which it lost in 1928 when the newly-established Bank of Greece took over as the country's central bank. In 1899 NBG acquired the Privileged Bank of Epirus and Thessaly (Pronomiouchos Trapeza Epirothessalias). Andreas Syngros had founded the bank in Volos in 1882. Unfortunately, the bank was unable to recover from his death and from the Greco-Turkish War (1897).
The arrival of the 20th Century saw NBG begin its international expansion. In 1904 NBG established Banque d’Orient, together with Nationalbank für Deutschland, which almost immediately withdrew from the venture. The Greeks kept the branches in Thessaloniki, Smyrna and Alexandria. Three years later, NBG chose Cyprus as the location for its first branch outside Greece. NBG became government-owned during the First World War when NBG refused to finance new military equipment for the Greek government. The government then passed a law that permitted the government to appoint its own people to the Bank's board.
In 1919 NBG acquired the Bank of Crete (Trapeza Kritis). However, in 1923 the Treaty of Lausanne provided for a compulsory exchange of populations between Greece and Turkey, leading to the departure of the Greeks from Smyrna. As a result Banque d’Orient closed its branch there.
The 1930s saw further international expansion. In 1930 NBG and Bank of Athens combined their activities in Egypt into a joint subsidiary, Banque Nationale de Grèce et d’Athènes. Two years later, NBG acquired Banque d'Orient (Trapeza Anatolis). Then in 1939, on the eve of the Second World War, the NBG established a subsidiary in New York, the Hellenic Bank Trust Company. In World War II, the NBG in Greece was managed by Deutsche Bank for the German Occupiers.
In 1953 the NBG took over the Bank of Athens, which was at that time the second largest Bank in Greece. Both banks cooperated before in their foreign branches in Middle East which were operated as Banque Nationale de Grèce et d’Athènes. The NBG took over also the affiliated South African Bank of Athens (est. 1947), which NBG still owns. The former headquarters of the Bank of Athens are also still used until today. In 1960 Egypt nationalised all banks in Egypt, including Banque Nationale de Grèce et d’Athènes, which it merged into National Bank of Egypt.
In 1965 NBG acquired the Greek Trapeza Epagelmatikis Pistis (Professional Credit Bank). The next year bank governor Georgios Mavros founded the National Bank of Greece Cultural Foundation. In 1978 the Greek government permitted the formation of Arab Hellenic Bank with 49% Arab ownership, as an exception to its prohibition on foreign banks owning more than 40% of the equity of a Greek bank. NBG held 51% and provided most of the bank staff. The Libyan Arab-Foreign Bank and Kuwaiti Investment Organisation held 40% between them while other Arab investors held 9%. That same year NBG opened again a branch in Cairo. In 1994 NBG incorporated its branches in Cyprus into a subsidiary: National Bank of Greece (Cyprus). The next year the Greek government dissolved the insolvent Arab Hellenic Bank at a cost to Greece's Deposit Guarantee Fund of Euro 1.5m in payments to depositors. In 1998 the Swiss architect Mario Botta won the competition for the new wing of the headquarters, the building was completed in 2001. In 1998 NBG merged with the Ethniki Ktimatiki Trapeza Ellados (National Mortgage Bank of Greece), itself the result of the merger of the National Mortgage Bank and the National Housing Bank of Greece. Since 1999, NBG is also listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
After the end of communism in Eastern Europe, NBG took advantage of the opportunity to expand to Southeast Europe. In April, 2000, in a joint deal with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and IFC, NBG acquired a majority stake in Stopanska Banka (Skopje, Republic of Macedonia). In July, National Bank of Greece acquired 89.9% of the United Bulgarian Bank (UBB).
In 2002 NBG merged with ETEBA (National Investment Bank for Industrial Development), but NBG's attempted merger with Alpha Bank fell through. The next year, NBG bought Banca Romaneasca, a Romanian bank, and currently holds 88.7% of all outstanding shares. Banca Romaneasca has 90 branches.
However, while it was expanding to Southeast Europe, NBG was retreating in North America and other places serving the Greek diaspora. The first move occurred in 2005 when NBG sold all its operations in Canada to Bank of Nova Scotia. The next year NBG sold its US arm, Atlantic Bank of New York, to New York Community Bancorp for US$400 million (€331 million) in cash. It then used proceeds from the sale to help finance further acquisitions in southeast Europe. In 2004 the Institute for Corporate Culture Affairs was founded by NBG and Deutsche Bank as not-for-profit institute based in Frankfurt.
In 2006 NBG acquired 46% of the shares of Finansbank in Turkey, a share that it increased in 2007 to 80%. Hüsnü Özyeğin reported in the initial press conference when NBG announced its 46% share purchase that he would have "loved to have been offered National Bank of Greece shares instead of cash, however there were no shares available" (outside of the current shares floated in the free market). Still in 2006, NBG acquired 99.44% of Serbia's Vojvođanska Bank for €385 mn.
At home, in 2005, as part of the NBG Group's ongoing effort to improve its portfolio structure and effectively respond to changes in the domestic and international markets, the Boards of Directors of National Bank of Greece S.A. and National Investment Company S.A. decided to merge the two companies through absorption of the latter by the Bank. Two years later, NBG merged with National Management & Organization Co. (the issuer of "Ethnokarta"). At the time, NBG already held 100% of National Management & Organization Co. shares. Also in 2007, NBG concluded the acquisition of P&K Investment Services SA. The acquisition created the largest provider of brokerage and investment services in Greece. NBG plans to expand this business to all countries where NBG has a presence.
The bank suffered following the Greek government debt crisis holding part of the debt. The bank wrote off more than $19 billion; 10 billion euros ($12.7 billion) of them in the restructuring of the debt.
In January 2013 NBG made an offer to take over the Eurobank EFG. The 64,000 Eurobank shareholders and the Greek capital market commission agreed. Some weeks after the buyout, NBG presented the plans to reduce the staff of the new banking group, many of them by taking early retirement. The merger was criticized, as some said that the new bank would be to big if it had to be sold, but one of the bankers said that much bigger banks have been sold. The NBG absorbed the healthy assets and liabilities of the Greek FBBank in 2013.
The NBG Group has 600 branches in Greece and 1,200 abroad. The branches or subsidiaries abroad are in over 18 countries, including Bulgaria, Cyprus, Egypt, Greece, Macedonia, Netherlands, Romania, Russia, Serbia, South Africa, Switzerland, and Turkey.
The bank's branch and ATM network, the largest in Greece (600 domestic banking units and 1370 ΑΤΜs), effectively covers the entire country. It is developing and expanding alternative distribution channels for its products, such as mobile and internet banking. Today, after recent acquisitions in South Eastern Europe the Group's network overseas includes 868 units. Over 9 million deposit accounts and more than 1.5 million lending accounts are held with NBG.
- Bank of Athens, Greece, 1952
- Stopanska Banka, (Skopje, Republic of Macedonia), 2000
- United Bulgarian Bank, Bulgaria, 2000
- Banca Romaneasca, Romania, 2002
- Vojvođanska Bank, Serbia, 2005
- Finansbank, Turkey, 2006
Notable persons in the history of the NBG
- Jean-Gabriel Eynard (1775–1863) banker and initiator to found the NBG
- Georgios Stavros (1788–1869) banker
- Julius von Hößlin (1802–1849) banker of J. Hösslin & Cie until the foundation of the NBG
- Alexandros Diomidis, Governor of the National Bank of Greece, later founder and Governor of the Bank of Greece.
- Georgios Mavros (1909–1995) jurist and chairman who founded the cultural foundation in 1966.
- Hüsnü Özyeğin (born 1944) chairman of the Finansbank before and after the takeover by NBG
Patronage and sponsorship
The Group has a long-term active and generally very discrete support policy. Its sponsorship through the National Bank of Greece Cultural Foundation is well-known, but its support in other fields such as university book printing or theatre, is less known.
The NBG organizes the i-bank Competition Innovation & Technology competition rewarding original ideas based in new technologies on i-banking and e-commerce (3rd competition in 2012).
During the crisis in Greece the situation of the health sector is very difficult, the NBG built a new wing of the Evangelismos Hospital in Athens. It cost 30 Mio. €.
|Economy of Greece|
- Michel S. Eulambio: The National Bank of Greece: A History of the Financial and Economic Evolution of Greece, 1924
- "Annual Report 2010". National Bank of Greece. Retrieved 5 May 2011.
- "Georgios Stavros". National Bank of Greece - Historical Archive.
- Tschoegl, A. 2004. Financial Integration, Dis-integration and Emerging Re-integration in the Eastern Mediterranean, c.1850 to the Present. Financial Markets, Instruments and Institutions 13 (5): 244-284.
-  National Bank of Greece Press Release (Athens, 13 May 2005)
- "National Bank of Greece Had Negative Equity at Year End", CNBC, May 17, 2012.
- "Alpha Bank Rejects $3.8 Billion Bid From National Bank of Greece". Bloomberg BusinessWeek. 18 February 2011. Retrieved 15 July 2011.
- Official website
- Company profile on reuters.com
- Νοταράς, Γεράσιμος; Παντελάκης, Νίκος; Συνοδινός, Ζήσιμος Χ. (2008). Εθνική Τράπεζα Της Ελλάδος 1841-2006 Ιστορικό Χρονολόγιο [National Bank of Greece 1841-2006 History Timeline] (in Greek). Athens. ISBN 978-960-88264-5-8.
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